What IF : A Fasting Community
I hate ‘diets’.
I’ve been through so many weight-gain-loss cycles, and I’ve rotated through so many diets (Keto, Paleo, GM, just stop eating), that I’ve come to see that word itself, as the enemy.
And while that’s partly an emotional rant, it’s also rooted in a deep understanding of the ‘weight-loss’ industry.
‘Diets’ are the fad that allow this industry to exist. To thrive. Without a new diet to sell every year, this $Xbn industry would be dead.
Funnily though, anyone who’s ever managed to get fit and then stay so, would tell you that diets don’t work. Not in the long-term atleast.
What works in the long-term, is lifestyle change. And that’s precisely why I love Fasting.
Fasting is not a ‘diet’
I first discovered IF in mid-2018. At this time, I was about 18-months into writing my fitness-blog, and my bullshit-detection faculties were at their peak. I could smell an American-marketing fueled fad-diet from a mile away.
Interestingly though, IF never set-off my bullshit alarm. There was something very unique about this ‘new-fad’.
For one, it wasn’t an exclusionary diet. Most fad-diets like Keto ask you to cut-out one macro-nutrient from you diet. Entirely! It doesn’t take a genius to know that such diets can’t be sustained.
What intrigued me, was that IF didn’t restrict any food-group at all. It only restricted the time in which you could eat. This was entirely different from all those other diets, trying to make a villain out of carbs, or fats, or dairy.
IF, on the contrary, said that it’s not as much what you eat (ofcourse that doesn’t mean eat junk), but when you eat it. This was powerful.
The second thing that intrigued me, was how long Fasting had been around. Consistently.
Every new fad-diet in the market has one thing in common — they all invoke our hunter-gatherer ancestors and claim…
this is how our forefathers ate !
Keto says it, Paleo says it, Vegan says it — all of them argue that humans weren’t built to eat the way they do nowadays.
Now, while I whole-heartedly agree with that last statement (the human body truly hasn’t evolved as fast as our food has), I do often wonder how all these diets could, simultaneously, claim that that’s how humans ate?
And if we did, why did we suddenly lose all these practices? How is it that science is suddenly re-discovering all these age-old diets? And that too with alarming regularity!
This is another place where Fasting won hands down. It’s definitely been practiced for ages, because it continues to be practiced through the ages! Right upto the present day. By every major religion in this world!
From Karwa Chauth and Navratras in Hinduism, to Ramadan in Islam, to Yom Kippur in the Jews — fasting never got lost, somehow.
Infact, it became part of culture. A systematic, periodic cleansing — that every religion across the world (from times when no internet or cell phones existed) simultaneously discovered. And loved so much that they made it part of tradition!
These two qualities of IF made it stand out. Made it pass my bullshit detector. Once it did, I found two more.
Fasting was free! It didn’t need exotic foods and expensive food plans. Anyone could do it. (side note: ever noticed how us rich folks keep inventing these new expensive diets that need you to spend gazillions on avocados and bulletproof-coffee. While the real fit guys are the farmers and the plumbers. Ah, the irony)
Also, fasting could be done anytime, anywhere. It didn’t require you to carry special meals, nor was it limited by the availability of said meals. On vacations, at work, at a wedding — there’s literally no bad place or time to be fasting!
What else could one ask for. I was sold. Which meant Fasting had earned the right to be put through my final filter. Myself.
My Journey with IF
Having struggled with weight-loss and fitness my entire life, I’ve come to one firm conclusion. Treat all ‘fitness-marketing’ as a lie. Nothing works as well as they sell it, and nothing works for everyone.
There’s no science that should convince you (because it’s largely industry funded), and there’s no testimonial that should sway you (because there’s no one size fits all).
The only way to find out if something really works, is to try it yourself. So I decided to give IF a serious shot.
As I write this, I’m 2 years into practicing IF. All of last year, I practiced 16:8 IF every weekday. For 52 weeks straight. This year I’m doing it about 3–4 days a week.
And I intend to continue this way. Forever.
Have you ever heard anyone say that for any ‘diet’. That I’ll do this forever?
This is the single biggest reason I now actively propagate Fasting. It’s a lifestyle change that you can implement, for life!
Fasting has brought me many health benefits. From a much, much healthier gut, to sustained energy levels, to easy weight-maintenance (not drastic weight-loss) — fasting has done so much to improve my overall well-being (why else would I commit to it for life :))
But this isn’t the post where I expound on the benefits of IF. I’m not here to sell IF to you. I’m here to tell you that my conviction in IF, comes purely from personal experience. Not some money-motivated, fitness-industry riff-raff.
Fasting is Communal
Since forever, fasting has been a community practice. In every religion, fasts are done collectively. And if you’ve ever fasted for more than 15 hours, you’ll know why.
Fasting isn’t easy in the beginning. And people have different experiences with it. Some latch on to it from the get-go, and some find it extremely hard.
Knowing that there’s someone else who’s doing it with you, helps tremendously. A community, a collective that’s fasting with you, motivates you. It keeps you going.
Also, fasting isn’t just ‘not eating’. It has some do’s and dont’s. Some ‘best practices’, if you will. Seniors and experts in a group, can help newcomers learn the ropes so that they don’t have a bad experience and get demotivated.
All of which made me wonder….
Why isn’t there an IF community?
There are brands and communities fighting for your attention across Vegan and Keto and Paleo. But why isn’t any brand pursuing IF with such zeal? Why aren’t celebrities and US governors funding documentaries that evangelise Fasting? Where aren’t there 100’s of YT channels selling freemium IF plans?
Well, like always, the answer lies in financial incentive.
Unlike these other diets, Fasting is about ‘not eating’! How do you monetize ‘not eating’!? How do you create fancy oils and exotic nut-milks and trail-mix subscription plans…around a diet that encourages you to stop eating!?
And if you can’t monetize it, why pursue it? Why help spread it?
Not to mention, which food brand in its right senses, would promote people to ‘not eat for prolonged periods of time’! Isn’t that the opposite of how food brands grow!? By increasing consumption!
But hey, no one ever accused us of being very smart. Not in the traditional sense of the word at least.
So yeah, we said we’ll do it.
whatIF: A Fasting Community
Here it is folks! Another stupidity that we’re extremely proud of!
We, at The Whole Truth, are launching an IF community! And we’re calling it whatIF!
whatIF — because in this community, we’ll bring you everything you need to know about what IF is. And because we’ll try and build a community that answers all your ‘what ifs’.
what if I have a heavy meal right after my fast?
what if I’m really hungry and break my fast 2 hours earlier?
what if I feel I can go longer than 16 hours, should I?
We’re taking it upon ourselves to help you get onto the IF bandwagon, and judge it for yourself. And we’ll arrange for the experts and content that you need, to help you along the journey.
We imagine whatIF to be a happy collective of Fasters (is that a word?) of all kinds! For folks who want to give it a shot, to veterans who could share their knowledge — everyone is welcome!
The intent with this community is purely to spread the word. There is absolutely no financial incentive at play here. We will only be spending money to keep the community alive and kicking. We’ll never make a penny off it (perks of being VC funded ;)).
If in the process, you come to think of The Whole Truth as a brand that truly cares for your health, and hence you chose to buy our products…that’s awesome!
But even if you never buy a single product of ours, it’s still absolutely fine.
How can I join?
Thought you’d never ask!
It’s simple. There’s a google form link below this. Just fill it up (<1min) and we’ll add you to the group.
Or if you want to learn a bit more about IF first, hop on to our Instagram profile. All this month we’ll be introducing Fasting to our Insta Family and getting guest speakers, experts, etc. to speak about the many benefits of IF.
And if you’re more of a reader, then you can always read this series of articles I wrote about my personal IF journey — this should help you get started.
I’ll shut up now.
Here’s to the Fast. And the curious. Cheers!
Join whatIF NOW: bit.ly/joinwhatIFcommunity